Federal Execution-Drug Supplier Says It Will No Longer Produce Pentobarbital for Executions

Death Penalty Information Center

Connecticut-based company Absolute Standards, which was identified as the source of lethal injection drugs used in 13 federal executions in 2020 and 2021, has said it will no longer produce the drug used in executions—pentobarbital. In a letter to two Connecticut lawmakers, John Criscio, president of Absolute Standards, said the company ceased producing pentobarbital in December 2020, and has “no intention to resume any production or sale of pentobarbital.” Mr. Criscio’s letter explains that his company was registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to produce and manufacture pentobarbital but does not address claims that the company supplied the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) with pentobarbital. State representative Josh Elliot, one of the lawmakers who is proposing new legislation to prohibit the sale of all drugs manufactured in Connecticut for use in executions, said in response that “just because the one company that had been identified as a manufacturer of these drugs is no longer manufacturing them doesn’t mean we want to leave the opportunity available for future manufacturing in the state.”

Following reporting from “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver in April 2024 that linked Absolute Standards to the 13 executions carried out under former President Donald Trump’s administration, the company received questions and criticism from public groups and others opposed to the death penalty. Connecticut state Senator Saud Anwar and his colleague Rep. Elliot asked Mr. Criscio’s company to cease production and requested a meeting with company leaders, but Mr. Criscio declined a meeting, saying that “although some reports have given the impression that [Absolute Standards] acted illegally or even purposefully subverted the law, nothing could be further from the truth.”

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